Top Ten Travel Photography Cliches – Instagram Edition

There’s a little bit of an originality drought on Instagram lately. I’m seeing the same sorts of images again and again. They’ve become instant cliches. Here’s my heavily sarcastic pick of the top Insta-cliches. Just a bit of fun, don’t be a snowflake about it.

Insta-Cliche No.1: Inside a tent, looking out through the open flap with a mountainous vista beyond – Stinky Feet Edition

The concept
Grabbing life by the balls and getting out into nature, exploring places you have to hike to, being out in nature and simultaneously at one with it.

The result
You have mastered the basics of a) walking and b) photography, but do not seem to have brought your imagination along for the ride and applied any form of creative process to your #travelstoke #adventurephotography #yolo portfolio.

Alternative variations
open van door (#vanlife #actuallyjustabumwithadslrandalongboard), open sleeping bag (#tentsareforpussys #madlad)

Insta-Cliche No.2: First-person viewpoint of photographer’s feet dangling over a mountainous cliff edge

The concept
Living on the edge, facing danger head-on, the fragility and insignificance of our place on this planet.

The result
People with acrophobia clench their rectums so tight they won’t shit for a week, everyone else wonders if there’s a special category in the Darwin Awards under Photographers Plummeting to their Deaths on Crumbling Cliff Edges

Alternative variations
The drop is in an optical illusion and the daredevil adventure photographer would drop approximately three feet if they went #overtheedge

Alternative alternative variation
Hanging by one hand from a crane #russiansonly #nutjobs

Insta-Cliche No.3: Shining a torch skywards underneath the Milky Way

The concept
Suggesting the immutable infinite nature of the galaxy, the insignificance of our place in the universe and the juxtaposition of the light from our galactic core with our ionic emissions from Earth.

The result
Man with ‘World’s Brightest Flashlight’ (that he picked up on Amazon specifically for this purpose) looks like he wandered into the shot by accident and just heard a noise in a nearby tree.

Alternative variations
Stand on a rock

Alternative alternative variation
Stand on a rock, wearing an Ever Ready headtorch and hold your hands out in a Christ-like pose while your friend light paints you from behind.

Insta-Cliche No.4: The glassy wave

The concept
You’re a waterman, at one with the ocean, as at ease in heavy surf as you are on dry land, the ocean is an unforgiving mistress but you face that danger every day and find beauty within it. #beachlife #surfsup

The result
You’re no Clark Little, so you shot with a small zoom inside a two foot wave that was breaking metres from the beach, but when you can afford a waterproof housing you’ll definitely get into some huge 2metre swells. #yourenotfoolinganyone

Insta-Cliche No.5: Bomb-shot from a drone of lonely figure walking down a beach/forest path/mountain track

The concept
Marvelling at the beauty of nature and mankind’s connection with it.

The result
You look like a blob of seaweed on the sand and then fly your virtually new Mavic drone into a tree because you were too busy trying to look deep and soulful when you should have been, you know, paying attention and shit. #djisupport

Insta-Cliche No.6: Attractive lady in partially transparent off-the-shoulder dress with her back to you, leading you by the hand towards an amazing cocount tree fringed beach/Venetian gondola/infinity pool

The concept
You’re a classy world traveller with a knockout partner/soulmate who is leading you onwards towards the next incredible experience in your non-stop thrill-ride of a life. #soblessed #instatraveling #theregoesthetrustfund

The result
300 Pakistani men flood your Instagram comments with ‘show your vagine beautiful’

Insta-Cliche No.7: 20-something female with her back to the camera (always with her back to the camera), wearing a folksy summer dress, looks out over a mountain vista with one hand holding on to her floppy boho hat

The concept
Young people eschew their mobile digital devices and pumpkin spice lattes for meaningful exploration of the wilderness.

The result
It’s pretty obvious you pulled up at a scenic lookout with a 50metre walk from the carpark and that your girlfriend is probably a) freezing her petite tits off and b) there’s a queue of other girls in folksy summer dresses and floppy boho hats waiting for their #travelstoke moment. #vsco #intothewild #butnotforlong

Insta-Cliche No.8: Overhead view of a cafe table with plates of ethnic looking food, a Moleskine diary and a train ticket stub

The concept
You’re easy like Sunday morning, totally at ease with travelling the world, always open to new experiences and new tastes. #foodielife #thenameofthetravelorganisationthatpaidmetobehere

The result
Oh look, another photograph of some artfully arranged halloumi, avocado, rocket, pear, cherry tomato and balsamic dressing on wretched fucking sourdough toast #ittasteslikerubber #ididntactuallyeatanyofthis

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Love a good rainbow breakfast ๐ŸŒˆ

A post shared by Tara Milk Tea (@taramilktea) on

Insta-Cliche No.9: Floating on your back in a Christ-like pose in a jungle waterhole/beneath a waterfall/offshore from a tropical island

The concept
Far from civilisation, you have connected with your inner soul, gazed far with your third eye and are at one with Gaia within the incredible surroundings of pristine nature. #wildernessculture #passionpassport #erectnipplesandacameltoe

The result
Just as you begin to relax in the water you see a shadow moving in the water beneath you and thrash your way to the shore/bank/boat before collapsing in a sobbing hysterical mess on the shoulder of your stylist. Years later you show the photograph to your psychiatrist and tell her that this was the precise moment when you became petrified of open water. The psychiatrist doesn’t believe you and tries to point the finger of blame at that time your brother Timmy pushed you into the backyard paddling pool and you landed awkwardly on your My Little Pony water pistol.

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By: @trouxedela

A post shared by Travel / Adventure / Earth (@luxpix) on

Insta-Cliche No.10: Hugely contrived pose, hair flowing, in front of a sunset/sunrise

The concept
You are just so high on life and so athletic and so healthy that you just can’t contain yourself and you need to jump ecstatically into the air like a beachy ballerina.

The result
You wanted to mix things up a little bit because you’re on your fifth straight shot-from-the-back folksy dress/boho hat scenic lookout #travelstoke so you thought you’d like, jump, in a bikini. Unfortunately it took 172 attempts to get the right look and your long suffering boyfriend Miles is so over it he’s tossed your Sony A6500 into the ocean and walked back to the car where he’s now repeatedly kicking the glove box of your hire car which will mean you lose your security deposit.

By |2018-06-17T17:10:55+00:00July 20th, 2017|Articles, The Low-Down|2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Marilyn Black June 17, 2018 at 10:24 am - Reply

    Thanks for your wry humor – served to lift my spirits on a less-than-flash Saturday evening. I do hate the standard contrivances made de rigeur on Instagram

    • Andy Hutchinson June 17, 2018 at 5:11 pm - Reply

      No worries Marilyn – thanks for enjoying it in the spirit it was written in ๐Ÿ™‚

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